|| A WORD FROM MIKE SMITH
Response to the November 2004 Akron Beacon Journal homeschool series
Let the facts speak
|(PART 1 OF A 2-PART SERIES)|
Recently, the Akron Beacon Journal published a series of seven articles that cast homeschooling in a negative light.1 Although the authors conceded that homeschooling has some good points, their writing implied that homeschooling has dangerous flaws that demand increased government oversight. The authors spent over a year preparing for the series, doing research, and interviewing homeschoolers and government officials.
|J. Michael Smith, President of Home School Legal Defense Association|
However, the series itself contains some dangerous lapses of logic, as pointed out by Nathaniel and Hans Bluedorn at http://www.christianlogic.com. The Bluedorns, homeschooled authors of a logic textbook called The Fallacy Detective, point out four obvious fallacies employed by the Beacon Journal reporters in the series:2
|>>||Appeal to the people (public opinion is not a gauge for what is true or false);|
|>>||Faulty appeal to authority (authorities must be named and their credentials clearly explained for their comments to be relevant);|
|>>||Proof by lack of evidence (a lack of evidence cannot be used to support or refute anything); and|
|>>||Innuendo (a propaganda technique that uses subtle and misleading language to manipulate our minds).|
Other statements in the series demonstrate a lack of thorough, balanced research by the reporters. For instance, in the article dated November 15, 2004, the Beacon Journal claimed that only 0.17% of all college applicants are homeschoolers, despite the fact that about 2% of the U.S. student population is homeschooled. The article's authors failed to consider that homeschooling has grown at a rate of 715% for the past 10 years. That means most homeschoolers are between 5 and 14 years of age and not even eligible for college! Nor did the authors mention a study by Brian D. Ray, Ph.D., of over 5,000 homeschool graduates.3 Ray reported that "over 74% of home-educated adults ages 18 24 have taken college-level courses, compared to 46% of the general United States population."
Had the Beacon Journal reporters dug a little deeper, they might have discovered a couple other reasons homeschoolers might appear to be underrepresented on college applications. In states that consider homeschools to be private schools (such as California and Texas), home- educated college applicants would be considered "private school graduates," not "homeschoolers." And homeschoolers who attend community college as part of their high school curriculum would probably be considered "transfer students."
In the same article, the Beacon Journal took issue with my statement that "Home School Legal Defense Association is unaware of any serious critics who still argue that homeschoolers struggle academically." After interviewing many homeschool critics, the best refutation that the Beacon Journal could come up with was a claim that the data on homeschool academics is "inconclusive." Even Robert Reich, one of homeschooling's most outspoken critics, does not dispute homeschoolers' academic record.
HSLDA contends that the facts speak for themselves. Homeschool research shows that personalized instruction by dedicated parents produces children with solid academic achievement.
1. "Akron Beacon Journal Attack on Homeschooling Links"
2. "Response to the Akron Beacon Journal Attack on Homeschooling"
3. "Homeschooling Grows Up"